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Comment YouTube needs to evolve (Score 1) 455

Cases like this have got to be a dime a dozen. As much as registering your work with the Library of Congress helps, it won't until you get to the expensive part where lawyers are involved.

I'd like to see YouTube provide the option of registering your work with THEM. If you're the first person to upload specific material to them, that should count as a tie-breaker in such cases as these. They look at the original asteroid video, they look at the subsequently uploaded video (which will also have slightly poorer video quality after being re-encoded), and then the latter video gets denied if they try what they're trying here.

A watermark embedded by YouTube on encoding would also help make it difficult for people to pull material from their site, and repost it as their own.

Comment Theft? (Score 1) 529

One potential issue with LED bulbs that I don't hear people talking about... theft. It's pretty unlikely anyone's going to steal a $1 incandescent bulb, but when these things get over $50 in price, you're left with the problem of "securing" that investment.

Spending $50 or $60 to save money over time doesn't make much sense if the bulb keeps getting stolen.


British Airport Will Require Fingerprints From Domestic Passengers 279

ProfBooty brings us a story about England's Heathrow airport, which will begin fingerprinting passengers on its domestic flights later this month. Airport executives claim that the data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement. We've previously discussed airport fingerprinting measures in the United States and Japan. Quoting: "All four million domestic passengers who will pass through Terminal 5 annually after it opens on March 27 will have four fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed, when they check in. To ensure the passenger boarding the aircraft is the same person, the fingerprinting process will be repeated just before they board the aircraft and the photograph will be compared with their face. Dr Gus Hosein, of the London School of Economics, an expert on the impact on technology on civil liberties, is one of the scheme's strongest critics. He said: 'There is no other country in the world that requires passengers travelling on internal flights to be fingerprinted. BAA says the fingerprint data will be destroyed, but the records of who has travelled within the country will not be, and it will provide a rich source of data for the police and intelligence agencies.'"
The Internet

ICANN Wants To End Commerce Dept. Oversight In 2009 58

Ian Lamont writes "ICANN's current Joint Project Agreement with the US Commerce Department is set to expire in September of 2009, and ICANN wants to become more autonomous and switch to a global governance model, says ICANN's executive officer. The agreement between the nonprofit ICANN and the Commerce Department has been in place since 1998, and was renewed in 2006 despite international protests. A few US-based groups named in the article — including the Center for Democracy and Technology, the trade group TechNet and a conservative think tank iGrowthGlobal — would like the agreement with the Commerce Department to continue, in part to provide 'accountability.' The ICANN officer quoted in the article says expiration of the Commerce Department agreement would not remove accountability, as ICANN still has a contract with the US to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and must follow California law governing nonprofits. The Register is running a related story about why some people are uncomfortable with the United States' influence on ICANN. We discussed ICANN's request for independence a few months ago."

NASA Running Out of Plutonium 264

PRB_Ohio takes us to for a story about NASA's plutonium shortage, and how it may affect future missions to the far reaches of the solar system. The U.S. hasn't produced plutonium since 1988, instead preferring to purchase it from Russia. We discussed the U.S. government's plans to resume production in 2005, but those plans ended up being shelved. If NASA is unable to find an additional source, it could limit missions that take spacecraft too far from the Sun. Quoting: "Alan Stern, NASA associate administrator for science, ... said he believed the United States had sufficient plutonium-238 on hand or on order to fuel next year's Mars Science Lab, an outer planets flagship mission targeted for 2017 and a Discovery-class mission slated to fly a couple years earlier to test a more efficient radioisotope power system NASA and the Energy Department have in development. To help ensure there is enough plutonium-238 for those missions, NASA notified scientists in January that its next New Frontiers solicitation, due out in June, will seek only missions that do not require a nuclear power source."

Microsoft To Drop HD DVD 246

HockeyPuck writes to let us know that Microsoft has decided to stop making HD DVD players for the Xbox 360. No word on supporting Blu-ray on the platform though. "Microsoft said Saturday it would continue to provide standard warranty support for its HD DVD players. Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida last week estimated about 300,000 people own the Microsoft video player, sold as a separate $130 add-on for the Xbox 360."
The Courts

"Vista Capable" Lawsuit Is Now a Class Action 225

An anonymous reader notes an update in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporting that the lawsuit against Microsoft's "Windows Vista Capable" marketing campaign has been granted class-action status. We discussed the company's internal misgivings with this campaign a while back. The suit alleges that "...Microsoft unjustly enriched itself by promoting PCs as 'Windows Vista Capable' even when they could only run a bare-bones version of the operating system, called 'Vista Home Basic.'" In the 2006 pre-holiday season, Microsoft had placed "Windows Vista Capable" stickers on machines to keep the sale of Windows XP machines going after Vista was delayed. Microsoft didn't lose out totally in the recent ruling — the article notes that the judge "narrowed the basis on which plaintiffs could move forward with their claims."

Submission + - Google Custom Site Search may be hiding results (

crystalattice writes: "Google's Custom Site Search appears to be less than useful for established sites. According to J de Silva's GIDBlog post, not all the pages related to a search query are being returned. From the article: "If I search Google for [ auto add slashes], i.e. restricting the search to only my web site, GIDForums, I expect it to return this page, but according to Googles Custom Search Engine, that page doesnt even exist! Notice that its not listed at all; not filtered, and not even stuck inside their infamous supplemental results. But its an old page! In fact the page is very old over 4 years old, actually and Google indexed this page very soon after it was written, and even referred people to the page for at least a couple of years, or more. So why did they remove it? What happened?""

Submission + - A business model for the MAFIAA

sehlat writes: I asked my wife her opinion of the MAFIAA's war on their customers and she sent me the following essay. Posted here because I think it deserves attention.

As our communication technology expands (some might say 'explodes'), traditional media are being forced to rethink their traditional models. Nowhere is this more evident than in the struggles of major movie studios, music studios and publishing companies. Some of them are in outright legal wars with their customers. This is a certain ticket to bankruptcy court — it's just a matter of time.

In the past, big studios and big publishers were king. Composers, performers, authors and artists all had to go through them to reach an audience. Even if they went to the considerable expense of self-producing, how did they distribute their wares? The entertainment corporations were free to pay their talent as they saw fit, charge for their product as they saw fit, and they didn't have to answer to anyone. The only real adversaries they had were each other and the counterfeiters.

Counterfeit movies, books and music have always been a nuisance, but they weren't a major threat. Quality problems kept most customers attached to the genuine article. But then the technology expanded, and anyone could make a copy for their mom, their girl friend, their cousin Ernie. A lot of big companies panicked and set loose packs of lawyers to gnaw on the hands that feed them.

Panic is blind, and this is no exception. Those big companies aren't seeing the big picture, and if they don't rethink what they're doing, they will go as extinct as the dodo, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT NEEDED ANY MORE.

The studios and publishers make a big deal about "intellectual property", but how are they defining that? Do they create anything? Or do they buy the creations of others? Do they sell anything? Or do they pretend to sell their wares, but then insist on the right to continue to "own" and control them?

These days, studios and publishers actually function as glorified introduction services. Once they were mass-producers, using economies of scale to make the expensive, cumbersome process of generating and duplicating entertainment media (whether book or music or film) cost-effective. But today, we're getting to the point where anyone with a good computer and the requisite skills can turn out high-quality content, and mass duplication isn't necessary — it can be done electronically by the purchaser. So the function of the studio or publisher is to 1. Recruit the talent, and 2. Introduce their work to the consumer.

Think about an introduction or dating service. You want to meet a nice person to go out with. The service is happy to oblige, for a fee. So far so good. But what if the service wanted to plant spyware in your car, your favorite haunts, even your bedroom, to make sure that you couldn't ask the person out again without paying them? What if they sued you for introducing her to your cousin Ernie? Would you do business with them?

No matter what they do, these agencies can't successfully control each iteration of the material they sell. If they stop trying, they'll continue to make money. Most people don't want to take the time to record or print their own entertainment. Most artists don't want to be their own marketing companies, either, so they too will continue to support agencies that treat them fairly. Some of both will go to the extra trouble, because they have more time and/or skill than money, but chances are that those people wouldn't be doing business with the agency in the first place, so nothing is being lost to them.

What about all this is so difficult? The same bloated corporations that have been swindling their artists for years are now running amok, suing grandmothers and grade-school kids for doing the very thing that will keep their products in the marketplace. Word of mouth is the most potent advertising a company can have — why aren't they taking advantage of it? The consumers want to be entertained. Show them a little bit of something entertaining and they want more. Intelligent marketing dictates selling content; recorded media might remain as a secondary "convenience" market for people who can't or don't want to convert data to their format of choice, but it's not mandatory any more. The company that's smart and realistic will provide previews, or older material from an artist's library, to potential buyers. When they sell something, they will sell it. They'll sell it in units that make sense (individual songs as well as albums, individual stories as well as collections, etc. No encryption, no spyware, no strings attached at all, except that if anyone tries to copy and market their material, they can act against them on behalf of the artist. And speaking of the artist, they'll pay their talent well enough to make it attractive to work with their agency, because if they don't, their talent has the option of marketing directly to the consumer. In the coming shaking-out of the information/entertainment media, the companies that are smart and realistic will win.

Submission + - Google Search Slowed Down by Vista

Vengance Daemon writes: The United States Justice Department has rejected an antitrust claim made by Google. A New York Times Article states that "...Google has accused Microsoft of designing its latest operating system, Vista, to discourage the use of Google's desktop search program." It then adds that a Justice Department "memo dismissing Google's claims, sent to state attorneys general around the nation, alarmed many of them...Some state officials said they believed that Google's complaint had merit...[and] the memo appears to have backfired. Prosecutors from several states said they intended to pursue the Google accusations with or without the federal government. In response, federal prosecutors are now discussing with the states whether the Justice Department will join them in pursuing the Google complaint." What an odd place to work the Justice Department must be these days.

Submission + - Asus stuns Computex with $189 laptop (

slashthedot writes: "As if Intel's cheap laptop release last month wasn't enough, Asus sprang a surprise during Intel's Computex keynote today with the announcement of a $189 laptop.
The notebook uses a custom-written Linux operating system, measures roughly 120 x 100 x 30mm (WDH) and weighs only 900g, boots in 15 seconds from its solid-state hard disk. Asus chairman Jonney Shih claimed the 3ePC would be available in all areas of the world, not only developing nations. utex-with-100-laptop.html"


The Dangers of a Patent War Chest 125

Timothy B. Lee writes "I've got an article in the New York Times in which I make the case against software patents. Expanding on a point I first made on my blog, I point out that Microsoft has had a change of heart on the patent issue. In 1991, Bill Gates worried that 'some large company will patent some obvious thing' and use it to blackmail smaller companies. Now that Microsoft is a large company with a patent war-chest of their own, they don't seem so concerned about abuse of the patent system. I then describe how Verizon's efforts to shut down Vonage are a perfect illustration of Gates' fears."

Anti-DRM Activists Take On the BBC 200

An anonymous reader writes "Activists from Binary Freedom Boston have launched a campaign calling on the BBC to release their content online without DRM or proprietary formats. You might remember the BBC asking us about this earlier and even though the public chose not to use DRM by a landslide, they still decided to use it. EMI and Amazon have already ditched DRM. How long before the BBC does?"

Submission + - OpenOffice Virus Found in Use (

eldavojohn writes: "Remember the 'SB/Badbunny-A' virus that wasn't in the wild yet? Well, according to Symantec, it is and it's not caring what platform you're running. The respective behaviors of the designated worm in the wild: "On Windows systems, it drops a file called drop.bad which is moved to the system.ini in the user's mIRC folder, while executing the Javascript virus badbunny.js that replicates to other files in the folder. On Apple Mac systems, the worm drops one of two Ruby script viruses in files called badbunny.rb and badbunnya.rb. On Linux systems, the worm drops both as an XChat script and as a Perl virus.""
The Courts

TorrentSpy Ordered By Judge to Become MPAA Spy 372

PC Guy writes "TorrentSpy, one of the world's largest BitTorrent sites, has been ordered by a federal judge to monitor its users. They are asked to keep detailed logs of their activities which must then be handed over to the MPAA. Ira Rothken, TorrentSpy's attorney responded to the news by stating: 'It is likely that TorrentSpy would turn off access to the U.S. before tracking its users. If this order were allowed to stand, it would mean that Web sites can be required by discovery judges to track what their users do even if their privacy policy says otherwise.'"

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